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Former University of Calgary volleyball star turned actor Dan Payne admits his involvement in the upcoming superhero blockbuster Watchmen was a textbook case of being in the right place at the right time.

While the 36-year-old B.C. native has enjoyed moderate success in film and television, he decided to moonlight as a “reader” for a Vancouver casting director last year. This basically involved the hulking actor showing up during cattle calls to play out scenes with hopefuls trying out for roles — an activity he hoped would give him better insight into the whole auditioning process. What it did do was land Payne in front of Watchmen director Zack Snyder.

I got a chance to talk to him and meet him and hang out. The [casting director] came to me after and said, 'Zack was happy to have met you and has a role that is perfect for your size and physicality. But it's not a big role.' I said, 'Are you kidding? The Watchmen? With Zack Snyder? I'd bring coffee…

Payne ended up getting the role of masked hero Dollar Bill — a small part which involves the character getting shot dead by a crook after his cape gets caught in a bank’s revolving door. Dollar Bill was one of the original the Minutemen, who fought crime in the 1940s and 50s. Payne explains that the scene he is in is brief, but that he may end up seen more in some of the DVD’s special features.

The story is told in flashback to let the audience know how the Watchmen came about. I filmed for about four days. But it was pretty cool because he did some DVD extras, a sort of 'meet the superheroes, behind-scenes' thing. I won't spill too much about it. But it's pretty funny and cool.

Payne says he hopes the role gives his career a high-profile boost. Other than Watchmen, the actor has a handful of lower-budget films on deck, including one where he plays a Russian henchmen opposite Steven Seagal.

For an exclusive image from the day Dan shot his imfamous revolving door scene in Vancouver, head on over to our Movie Photos section.

8.3.08 Source: Calgary Herald

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